One in three more religious than parents . . .
On Wednesday, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence published its survey, The New Muslim Consumer, revealing that one-third of Southeast Asian Muslims consider themselves more religious than their parents. The findings are based on a survey conducted by Wunderman Thompson, interviews with 1,000 youth in Malaysia and Indonesia, and consumer case studies in industries such as fashion and fintech. Only 21 per cent of the survey respondents admitted to being less religious than their parents, and the remaining majority claimed to be roughly equally devout, suggesting that the younger generation has become more devoted to their faith.
Consumerism and a resurgence in faith . . .
The report reveals that the centrality of religion in the lives of young Southeast Asian Muslims extends to their consumer decisions. While the concept of ‘halal,’ or ‘permissible,’ has commonly been applied to food, younger generations are now more frequently applying the idea to goods such as fashion, travel, and banking, with more than 60 per cent of those surveyed noting it matters to them whether an investment or banking product adheres to Islamic law. Additionally, 91 per cent of participants claim that the most important factor in their decision to purchase a product was whether the product was halal, exceeding other considerations such as the quality of the product, and whether the product promoted or detracted from environmental sustainability.
Implications for the tech sector in Southeast Asia . . .
Indonesia has worked to grow its technology sector for years; by 2021, it had become the second ASEAN nation to create a national strategy for the development of AI and had the largest number of scientific publications on AI in Southeast Asia. However, the survey revealed that many Southeast Asian Muslims are uncertain whether new technological products are compatible with their faith. For example, 59 per cent of those surveyed said they did not think the metaverse was compatible with Islam. Based on these survey results, businesses selling technological products seeking to expand their consumer base in Muslim-majority Southeast Asian countries would likely benefit from ensuring their products are aligned with Islam.
- Al Jazeera: 1 in 3 Southeast Asian Muslims more devout than parents: Report
- Council on Foreign Relations: Why Indonesia’s youth hold the key to its tech sector progress
- Wunderman Thompson Intelligence: How rising observance is reshaping the consumer landscape in Southeast Asia and beyond